22 April 2011

Friday, 22 April 2011: KLC Launch Delayed by California Mishap

(Note the number of days since the last launch in the timer to your right;  over 5 months since the last launch.)
  Jacob Resneck/KMXTThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
            A spectacular mishap in which a $424 million NASA research satellite was lost in the Pacific has caused the launch of a military satellite from the Kodiak Launch Complex to be delayed for several months.
             The U.S. Air Force had initially announced it would launch a Minotaur IV rocket in May. But now an Air Force spokesman says the launch won't be until mid-summer or early fall. The spokesman asked not to be named.
            The cause of the delay can be traced to a malfunction of a similar rocket last month. An apparent malfunction of a launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California destroyed NASA's Glory mission, a climate research satellite that had been mounted on a Taurus XL rocket.
            Spaceflight Now reported this week that the Glory mission had failed to separate properly in mid-flight and the payload was lost in the Pacific Ocean.
            While of a different design, the Taurus XL shares some of the same components as the Minotaur IV causing the Air Force to ground the mission as a precaution.
            The Minotaur IV is based on the Peacemaker ICBM missile and is the same type of rocket that successfully launched from Kodiak's Narrow Cape last November.
            The Air Force says the "exact nature of the problem" that occurred is still unknown and it's still awaiting the facts before committing to a launch date in Kodiak.
            The Air Force added that the military satellite is the only mission currently booked for the Kodiak Launch Complex which is owned by the state-owned Alaska Aerospace Corporation.

12 April 2011

12 April 2011: No Bailout for Alaska Aerospace in 2011 Alaska State Budget?

SB46 is the Alaska Senate proposed capital budget for 2011.
According to KMXT news, all funding for the Alaska Aerospace Corporation has been removed from this draft. 
      "But eliminated from the Senate's capital budget is any funding for the Alaska Aerospace Corporation. The governor's budget had allotted $4 million. That was less than the $10 million requested by the state-owned corporation that operates the Kodiak Launch Complex. But those funds didn't survive the Senate Finance Committee."
            "Sen. President Gary Steven's chief of staff Katrina Metheny said it was not Steven's doing. She said the senator does support the Alaska Aerospace Corporation, adding there would be opportunities to re-insert the funding at a later date though she offered no commitment it would happen."
      I confirmed this elimination with KMXT news personnel today.
Perhaps our elected officials are finally realizing what a colossal waste of money it is to keep the Kodiak Launch Complex (aka "The Little Launch Complex That Couldn't" aka "Space Pork Kodiak") open for business when it has little or no business. No more handouts; no more corporate welfare.